What Was Clockwise Called Before Clocks Existed?

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In summary, before clocks, Europeans referred to the direction as "sunwise." Clockwise motion was referred to as "righty-tighty" when bolts and nuts were invented.
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Hornbein
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What was clockwise motion called before the dial clock became well known?


https://historyqa.com/how-did-people-refer-to-clockwise-and-counterclockwise-before-clocks/


In Northern Europe, the sun was perceived as moving in an arc from left to right. The farther north one goes, the more that is evidence. When facing south, the sun rose at the left (the east) and set on the right (the west). That motion is not unlike the direction that the hands of a clock take from 9 to 3.

Before clocks (and well after the invention of clocks), Europeans referred to the direction as “sunwise.” To do things in an opposite direction was referred to as “against the sun,” this was generally regarded as unnatural if not dangerous in some respect.
 
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  • #2
I have never looked into this, but as a guess, the terminology might have used some form of DEXTRO and LEVO, or DEXTRO and SINISTR.
 
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Deosil and widdershins.
 
  • #4
symbolipoint said:
I have never looked into this, but as a guess, the terminology might have used some form of DEXTRO and LEVO, or DEXTRO and SINISTR.
But those just mean left and right. It wasn't until chemistry came along that they implied chirality. It had to do with whether the compound in solution rotated polarized light clockwise or the other way.
 
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Hornbein said:
What was clockwise motion called before the dial clock became well known?
Coincident with the invention of bolts and nuts, it was known as "Righty-Tighty". :smile:
 
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  • #6
Hornbein said:
What was clockwise motion called before the dial clock became well known?

https://historyqa.com/how-did-people-refer-to-clockwise-and-counterclockwise-before-clocks/


In Northern Europe, the sun was perceived as moving in an arc from left to right. The farther north one goes, the more that is evidence. When facing south, the sun rose at the left (the east) and set on the right (the west). That motion is not unlike the direction that the hands of a clock take from 9 to 3.

Before clocks (and well after the invention of clocks), Europeans referred to the direction as “sunwise.” To do things in an opposite direction was referred to as “against the sun,” this was generally regarded as unnatural if not dangerous in some respect.
Then there is the fact that a shadow of a sundial would travel on a "clockwise" arc. So, when mechanical dial clocks were invented, it made sense to keep this direction of motion for the hands.
 
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  • #7
So Argentinians and Tasmanians and South Africans see the sun as moving counterclockwise. Whaddaya know. I live in the southern hemisphere but close enough to the equator that this isn't noticeable.
 
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